tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC January 25, 2013 11:00pm-12:00am PST
you hear the growling and the gnashing of teeth. it's as if we're hearing the cries from hell. peggy noonan says the grand old party is doomed if it keeps knocking hillary and refusing to recognize that, excuse me for disrupting your illusion, president obama is the president, and republicans in the house that once could still see through the dark know they really can't go on like this. margaret is not alone. down in baton rouge governor bobby jindal says we have to stop being the stupid party. haley barbour warns this party to stop making stupid comments again, that word about rape. but don't lose heart. like an old car that won't turn off even when you turn the key to off, some character out in new mexico wants to stick women who are raped with stiff prison sentences if they get an abortion. she calls it tampering with the evidence. but wait a minute, crazy guys. didn't one of your republicans say you can't get pregnant in case of a rape? anyway, tonight finding our way through the crazy even as we hear the first loud barks and meows from the backyard of american politics.
i have with me joy reid and "mother jones'" david corn. anytime i can get you to giggle a little bit, joy, i consider myself a success. i owe some of this material to a lot of republicans today. pegging noonan, a friend of mine and very smart, i don't always agree with her, talks about middle of the road conservative. she's got a brain. in a "wall street journal" column, quote, it became obvious this week that the republican party top to bottom has to start taking barack obama seriously. he means to change america in fundamental ways and along the lines of justice as he sees it. the proper response to such a man is not that he's a muslim or a kenyan. those charges were meant to marginalize him, but they didn't hurt him. they damaged republicans. it will take guts and unity to fight him. can the gop just in washington now develop those things? i think it's a good charge to republicans. she's saying you've deluded yourself with these nonsensical
charges of birtherism, and it's hurt you more than it's ever hurt him. >> i agree with you, peggy noonan is one of the smart ones. i don't agree with much of what she says, but i think she's a smart woman. the base isn't reading "the wall street journal" editorial page. they have been fed for 30, 40 years this sort of insanity and the belief that their views are absolutely right. that the idea of calling democrats marxists and socialists and being extreme on abortion, that's not just right, but fundamentally american. it's more american than the other side. >> according to polls, you're right. the polls say you're right. >> you can't change the cake by changing the frosting. the problem is not -- >> are you dan rather? >> tonight i am. the base of the republican party isn't listening to the intellectuals. they're listening to what you called the other day the mickey mouse crowd. it can't just change because peggy noonan said so. >> that's a tough charge, and i
think she may be right. when you look at the commonality, the common nature of the republican party, it's still they keep talking about rape, which is something they ought to stay off of. it's a terrible tragedy, a crime, and why keep talking about it? and this thing about obama, the birtherism, we'll get to it later, more than a third of republicans think he was born somewhere else still. >> the problem -- i mean, bless peggy noonan. she wants to come in from on high and -- >> don't be jealous of another columnist. >> i'm not. i understand her intention, but she doesn't have a clear diagnosis of the problem. 6 out of 7 of the republican presidential primary candidates last year were basically yahoo candidates who believed in any one of these -- >> remind me their names. >> i don't know if i remember, cain, perry, bachmann -- >> santorum. >> trump was in and out. newt gingrich, mr. colonial marxist, mitt romney flirted with it but stayed away from it. when the house republicans came
into power two years ago, the tea partiers, one of the first things they did was to introduce a bill trying to redefine rape. so it's not just a bunch of yahoos out in new mexico or virginia with transvaginal probes. it is the heart of the party. >> and paul ryan -- >> you remind me of too much. let's go to jindal. here is a guy who is trying to be a leader. last night at a meeting of the republican party, governor bobby jindal called out his own gop. >> no, the republican party does not need to change our principles. but we might need to change just about everything else we are doing. we've got to stop being the stupid party. and i'm serious. it's time for a new republican party that talks like adults. it's no secret we had a number of republicans that damaged the brand this year with offensive and bizarre comments. i'm here to say we've had enough of that. >> got a smattering of applause there, joy. you heard that, but not very enthusiastic. former mississippi governor haley barbour, a very smart politician, he seconded jindal's thoughts.
>> the point he made is exactly right. when you consider what two senate candidates said, the comments they made were stupid comments, offensive comments, and in today's world when a candidate in one state says something, the negative effect of that can spill over to lots of other candidates, and bobby jindal was exactly right. >> the problem is, joy, where were these whistle-blowers last august when they were listening to donald trump, when they were hugging him, when they were listening to the birther crowd, the louis gohmerts of the crowd, the rick santorums talking about birth control. they got equal time with the more sane members of the right. >> exactly. the energy of the party is with the richard mourdock crowd. isn't bobby jindal the same guy who signed off on teaching creationism in schools as science? he hasn't been -- >> equal time again. >> exactly. the problem is, too, i think the
consultants in the party, the political class understands they need to change, and bobby jindal is an ambitious guy. he understands for them to be viable as presidential candidates, they need to change, but i don't even think they 100% believe it's possible because if the political class believed you could change the base, they wouldn't be trying these shenanigans like changing the electoral college so the rural counties could give a guy a state -- >> you're right, joy. i think they keep looking for ways to cheat. on the demographic thing, they face a real threat. either they embrace hispanics, begin to get a chunk of the african-american vote or they are doomed. we're not making this up. this is all coming out as fresh news. if you thought republicans had learned their lessons on abortion and talking about being the stupid party, think again. in new mexico republican representative cathrynn ann brown has introduced a bill, this is a serious elected person i suppose, that would make it a crime for rape victims to get abortions. the text of her bill reads, tampering with evidence shall include procuring or
facilitating an abortion or compelling or coercing another to obtain abortion of a fetus that's the result of criminal sexual penetration or incest with the intent to destroy evidence of the crime. why do they get into this stuff? what in their mind magnetized them to even be talking about rape after what they've been through with mourdock and what's that guy's name? >> akin. >> todd akin. >> because they believe it. >> but they don't think about it, do they? >> i guess they do. this is the issue. it's not about stopping stupid remarks, as haley barbour or bobby jindal say or peggy noonan. they believe in self-deportation a lot of them. that wasn't a stupid remark. it was politically, but that's what mitt romney campaigned on. they believe in preventing gay marriage. they believe in -- >> that said, almost half the people agree with some of this stuff, so don't marginalize it all. >> say on the tax policy, they fought on raising taxes on the rich.
60% to 70% of the public agree with the president on that. so they're marginalized on a lot of policy matters, and the stupid comments don't come out. >> coming out for lower taxes are not going to get you beat. why don't they stick to the strong points? republicans looked ridiculous this week when they decided to go after hillary clinton, who is riding so high in the polls. why did they go after her at the very point she was at her strongest, they attacked. let's take a look. >> i'm glad that you're accepting responsibility. i think that ultimately with your leaving you accept the culpability for the worst tragedy since 9/11, and i really mean that. had i been president at the time and i found that you did not read the cables from benghazi, you did not read the cables from ambassador stevens, i would have relieved you of your post. i think it's inexcusable not to know of the request for security that really i think cost these people their lives.
>> madam secretary, you let the consulate become a death trap. and that's national security malpractice. you've said you take responsibility. what does responsibility mean, madam secretary? you're still in your job. >> let me start with joy here. you are a woman. i think there is a sex aspect, a gender aspect. they treated her like they were reproaching her. like it was their job to reproach her. one guy said she's leaving her job because she's been basically fired. he says i think that ultimately that with your leaving, you accept the culpability. everybody knows that secretary clinton has decided months and months ago that she would -- maybe not years ago, she was going to serve one presidential term. here he is dishonestly, i think this is where you can say a man is being dishonest, saying she's leaving out of shame or some sort of recognition of her guilt. that's just not true. >> and this is the same crowd that said she was too afraid to testify.
then you have snidely whiplash rand paul up there being completely disrespectful to her as if he would ever be commander in chief. >> who is snidely whiplash? >> dudley do-right. >> dudley do-right, whatever. the idea is, first of all, they don't understand their problem. this is what comes from only talking to each other and listening to the rush limbaughs that call women babes and think that that's okay. the idea that you could stand up and disrespect the most popular political figure in the country and a woman to her face in a completely disrespectful way, it's of apiece with the susan rice treatment. she's not smart enough to be secretary of state. >> who said that? >> that was john mccain. this whole disrespect toward women, the idea women can't control their own reproduction. they're not smart. we need to protect them from -- >> you have a lazy black president and stupid women and the cliches that these are like out of something in the 1920s. where do they get this stuff from? >> this is all part of planet republican. i mean, they're not viewing the demographics right.
they're not viewing the policies right, and their tone, they're tone deaf again and again. >> what are they up to? are they playing to the base maliciously? >> i think they're watching fox tv too much. >> who do they think they are winning with? >> rand paul won this race in kentucky by playing to the tea party base. that's how he got -- >> in a nonpresidential year. the trouble is two years from now we're looking to a nonpresidential year, and it could just be what they're up to here is just riling up their base because they know that's who shows up at the polls, and the middle of the road voter who has had other things to think about isn't paying attention. >> it's going back to clinton bashing -- >> one last question. joy, didn't you think that the poison in the anti-hillary thing from the right that went on for all those years was gone? weren't you surprised by this attack -- >> no. i wasn't. because they see her as a potential presidential candidate, and obviously a strong one in 2016. these were pre-emptive strikes by people like rand paul who
styles himself presidential material. these were back benchers in the senate trying to make a name for themselves off of her. so i wasn't surprised by it, but, look, one other point here, i think when these guys look at the tea party, they still see winners, even though we see them as tremendous losers, they look at what they see as moderates, people like mitt romney, and they see losers. so they feel like the stronger they are, the more that they're forthright with their opinions, they think they're winning. >> that's what i think. back to those meetings and the people in the back row, you really showed her. you showed her. i love the way you went after her. thank you, joy reid, and thank you -- >> have a great weekend. >> -- david corn. you're both smart people obviously, and you're both mostly right here. i think there's a little craziness in here. i don't think it's rational. coincidence in the age of conspiracy? why do so many people believe in conspiracy theories? the fact is the more you know you are less likely to believe in them, except republicans. the more they read papers or watch fox, they're more likely to believe in conspiracy theories. say the word, fox.
also, the obama/clinton alliance gets ready for its next close-up. barack and hillary clinton have been partners for four years, and now they are doing a joint interview on "60 minutes." this is a fascinating event. president of the united states with a duet with the secretary of state. something is up. and what must joe biden be thinking about what he's going to watch on sunday night. can you rig it? republicans are looking to change the electoral vote system again. rigging it so the republicans can win. the 2012 result that looked like this in the five battleground states where obama won all the electoral states would look like this. that's all they have to do. if you can't get people to vote for you, you stack the deck. let me finish with the collection of memorabilia about the life of jack kennedy. big story there. and this is "hardball," the place for politics.
chambliss of georgia is retiring. chambliss announced he won't run for a third term when he's up for re-election a third year. he has been criticized by conservatives for leaving the gang of six in an attempt to broker a deficit deal. it was widely expected he'd face a primary challenge on his right flank. among the conservatives considering a senate run is congressman paul broun. just this week he said president obama is upholding the soviet constitution. the right is leaning right again, and we're losing people. we're better off with people like saxby chambliss who are trying to be reasonable. we'll be right back.
welcome back to "hardball." you can see the snow behind me here at the white house is like one of those things you turn upside down. how about conspiracy theories? it turns out it depends on your party affiliation whether you believe in them. you're probably not surprised to hear more republicans than
democrats are birthers, but a new poll shows nearly two-thirds of republicans, 64%, believe the president is hiding some specific information about where he was born. how about fixing elections? more than a third of democrats think george w. bush's supporters probably rigged the election in ohio back in 2004 through voter fraud, including a majority of african-americans. about the same number of republicans, 36%, think obama's supporters did the same thing to win last november, although there was no evidence of any cheating or anything, even a machine foul up. think back to 9/11. more than a third of democrats are part of the truther crowd, people who believe president bush knew about the attacks before they happened, as do nearly 60% of african-americans. the difference in the parties is the knowledge base. republicans who know more about the news are actually more likely to believe conspiracy theories fueled by right wing media like fox. dan cassino is a political science professor at fairleigh dickinson university. and radio broadcaster michael smerconish. michael, you brought this to our attention. i want to get you as a generalist like me, what do you
think this told you that surprised you, this poll? >> well, it reinforced what i have suspected all along, which is that the business model at the far right is predicated on fear. that they scare the crap out of people. there's never any accountability. for some reason, chris, people don't remember six months later that they were told there was another catastrophe looming and, therefore, hold those members of the media accountable. they still stay tuned in whether it's talk radio or fox or some other oracle that's on the right. >> yeah. it's almost like an addiction to being afraid. let me ask you, mr. cassino, our professor, help me out on this, what did you decide you learned here as just a person doing this kind of clinical study. what do you think was surprising in terms of brain soup here, different brain soup, the way people's brains work, right and left? >> the big deal here is that there really does seem to be something of an asymmetry. both sides tend to believe in conspiracy theories. the right and left are embracing them. the big difference is these informational effects. that's really what was most
interesting to me. when generally we expect the more you know about the world, the less likely you're going to be to believe in these conspiracy theories. we find that's just not the case for everyone. and i think that is something because of the informational content of right wing media. if you're a republican, you search out more information on these conspiracy theories. if you turn on fox news, you are going to wind up not getting more corrective information. when fox news covered this very poll, it was tucker carlson talking about how absurd it is that there was all this belief in conspiracy theories and asking why president obama hadn't released his college transcripts. so there is something with the informational content on the right. >> that's called -- what's it called, fair and balanced. you always have allowance for the crazy people as well as the sane people. you know, michael, you're enjoying this because i got a couple things here. let's start with this thing about birthers. the president released his official birth certificate. he had to go through the humiliation, i believe, of going to honolulu and asking them to
release the documents that normally aren't released. he got it over with. why wasn't that enough? why didn't any sane person at that point forward have any questions? what more could you ask? did you have to believe everything was cooked in to buy the facts? >> they are masters at taking kernels of truth and wrapping them in tremendous fiction and then weaving it together in a way that sounds like it could all make sense. there's never any sort of drill down moment where people say, wait a minute, time-out, let's analyze this and think about all the things that would have had to take place and all the people who would have had to be involved for any of this to be true. the great example i think recently is benghazi, and we just came through those hearings yesterday. instead of legitimate concern about the death of four americans and making sure that we're protected, it was all about what did ambassador rice say when she went on those shows, why was she out there. it was crazy. >> let's go over the african-american piece of this. how do you explain that, professor? i know we have so much
segregation still in our society where people don't have access to maybe centers of power as much as other people do. is that it? you don't know anybody that works in the state department? you don't know anybody who works in city hall. how do you explain this differential between white and black on this thing? >> i think there are two big things going on. first, the people that are generally out of power who feel like the center of powers are more distant, are more likely to believe in conspiracies. they don't feel they have any control. the second thing going on with african-americans is they have been the subject of conspiracies in the past. we had the syphilis experiments, tuskegee. >> so the worst case scenario turned out to be true. >> absolutely. the third thing that's happening is we do see the african-americans have much stronger differential in terms of how much they like republicans and democrats. essentially african-americans like democrats way more than they like republicans. african-americans are to the democratic party what the entire republican party is to the republican party. >> i thought that was well-said. michael, this didn't start, so
we don't think we're the only people on the planet, this generation, my dad worked in navy intelligence in south philly all through the war. he was an enlisted guy, chief petty officer. near the end of his life, he would still believe roosevelt had something to do with pearl harbor. that he knew it was coming because he wanted to get in the war against the nazis. your experience of talking on the radio with people, do you sense this idea that there's always some liberal in washington doing something and horrible to the country like letting us get attacked and losing our pacific fleet on purpose, which would have been not only grounds for impeachment, but execution if he got caught doing something like that. i don't care if he was roosevelt. >> chris, i'm always willing to give a good ear to a conspiracy theory. they're entertaining, but what's different is now they're being presented in a cohesive fashion for a political purpose, and they have never let up on this guy. listen, if i only relied on
"drudge" for my news, i'd hate him, too. it's remarkable to me that the level of coordination and how the echo chamber is all functioning as moving parts of the same machinery these days, and the danger is that there are some among us who only get their news from these outlets. and they were totally blindsided in the election. it was like a truck hit them because they didn't believe that there were other americans out there who weren't listening to the same sort of things that they were. that's the danger of it. >> i think that's great. we know republicans are a self-selecting group who tend to congregate together, but nothing summed that up better than the former chairman of the main republican party who was stunned to hear blacks had voted there on election day. let's watch this bit of whatever. >> in some parts of rural maine, there were dozens, dozens of black people who came in and voted election day. everybody has the right to vote, but nobody in town knows anybody who is black. how did it happen? i don't know. >> what do you make of that, professor?
>> well -- >> that testimony by a republican that blacks showed up in the voting booths and nobody had seen blacks before, therefore, they must be from somewhere else. it could be they live in a segregated community, just a guess. >> people on both sides tend to believe there's some sort of conspiracy, that that's a stolen election because they don't know anyone that votes for the other party. both sides, when we talk about politics, are pretty homogeneous. democrats tend to congregate with democrats and republicans tend to congregate with republicans. we don't know anyone who voted for the other guy, and as a result, we don't know how this possibly could have happened. >> i think there's so much hiding within your political network, people live in their own world so much they don't even know the larger country. michael smerconish, thanks for giving us that great story, and, professor, thanks for joining us from fairleigh dickinson. up next, seamus, roll over. another politician with a dog story. seamus keeps giving, the dog on the roof all the way to canada. it's cold up there. the place for politics.
back to "hardball." now to the "sideshow." ready for the opposite of mitt romney's seamus on the roof story? dog lovers will appreciate this one. enter newark mayor cory booker. twitter was buzzing with reports that a dog had been found left outside in the freezing cold last night. well, booker reported to the scene and carried the dog to a heated cop car. >> this is brutal weather out here. this dog is shaking really bad, and you just can't leave our dogs out on a day like this and go away. >> if you could crank up that heat, i would appreciate it. >> it's like all the way joe biden, isn't it? it turns out the dog's owner was out of town and did not know the dog had gotten out. booker has a knack for showing up with dangerous strikes. you may remember in april he rescued a woman from a burning house. last month he announced he's exploring a run for senate in 2014, though we still don't know whether frank lautenberg, who is 89 years old, plans to run for re-election.
here is some republican logic you may not have heard before. we need restrictive election laws to protect people's right not to vote. here is georgia secretary of state brian kemp explaining how something like same-day registration infringes on liberties. >> i think we have to have common sense protections to make sure our roles are secure to stop potential voter fraud. this whole issue i think with dealing with the federal government and universal registration and same-day registration and all these different buzz words really gets down to the individual freedoms of people in our state and americans in general and their ability to decide for themselves, yes, i want to register to vote and participate in the process or, no, that i don't. >> well, here is a buzz word for you, sir. democracy. when did universal and same-day registration become ways of forcing people to vote?
"new york magazine" got a kick out of all the times clinton adjusted her glasses and paired them with some captions. the "is this dude for real" adjustment. the "that's a fine point you made in my favor" adjustment. finally, the "i'm so going to veto all of your bills when i'm president" adjustment. as it turns out, those lenses are designed to treat lingering vision issues clinton is experiencing from her recent concussion. when "new york magazine" reached out to her office on that matter, they got a confirmation and something extra. quote, with them on she sees just fine. in fact, she got a kick out of your seven expressions and captions when she saw them crystal clear. up next, the obama/clinton alliance. president obama and hillary clinton do a joint interview sunday night on "60 minutes." what does it say about who president might support to replace him as president? this is a big deal, those two going on as a couple really. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics.
remarkable week with perhaps an even more remarkable event. a joint sit-down interview on "60 minutes" this sunday with president obama. as secretary clinton transitions from public life to private life, anything she does will be studied for clues to her future and a potential presidential run. a joint appearance with the president can only add to the speculation. ed rendell is former governor of pennsylvania and an msnbc analyst, and marjorie margolies is a professor at the university of pennsylvania. she's also -- her son, by the way, mark, is married to chelsea clinton. i don't know which one of you knows more about the clintons. i'm going to take a guess and go to marjorie. professor, don't laugh. i'm trying to figure this out. i thought secretary clinton was a smash hit this week and she was lucky -- >> she was magnificent. >> the jackals made her look even better. they may have gotten her passions up once or twice but
didn't hurt her a bit. my sense is this, what do you make of the relationship between the president personified or pictured by the fact that i have never heard of a president of the united states sharing time on "60 minutes ,"going on with another person as a colleague. that's a hell of a statement of almost peerage, of equality. your thoughts of what it means politically? >> i just think she's remarkable, and i think this relationship has been extremely special. she was able in the beginning to accept a post that was perfect for her, perfect. i've been with her in places where, implicit in what you said, she just knows how to deal with people. i think this is a wonderful chance for both of them. it's what we should be all about. it's what he says this is what america is all about. she is -- i mean, i was there in congress when she appeared before the energy and commerce, when she was presenting health
care, when she was talking about health care, and we left the chambers, and the other side, the republicans, were saying, whoa, she's fantastic. she's a debater, a humanitarian, she's amazing. and i think this is exactly the perfect capper for both of them. >> what's the president's investment in her now, governor? right now he's making an investment in her by showing up with her on "60 minutes." is it a thank you or an investment? >> i think it's a little of both. hillary has a favorable rating that's 20 points higher than the president's. she might be helping him a little bit, too, reminding people of, i think, the best single decision president obama made was appointing his rival to be secretary of state, and the relationship they forged is a great relationship that really has opened the eyes of many around the country. so is it a tribute to hillary that he's doing this? of course it is. does it mean necessarily that if hillary decides to run for president, that president obama will be for her? no. president obama also feels a terrific debt of gratitude
towards vice president biden, but i think in the end the president might play the role of talking to the vice president and saying, look, you can't stand in the way of history. this is history. it's a tidal wave. you have done a great job, but this is not something you should get involved in because it's pretty hard to beat back history. >> i think you're right. i think everything you said is right, but the timing is so tricky here. at some point joe biden has to get the heads up hillary is running and make his moves accordingly. he can't put an exploratory committee together and start talking to heavyweights if he doesn't know what the situation is. if he doesn't think she's going to run, he should go ahead. doesn't he have to get a heads up within the next six months or so so you can get out of this game if it's not his to win? last thought on that? >> and i think the person who might broker that, chris, is the president of the united states who i think does care about what the future holds and cares about a democrat succeeding him. he's in the best position to broker that. if hillary doesn't run, joe is
the odds-on favorite. >> let's talk about her running and winning. it seems there's a new talk out there, chuck todd opened it up today, for a president to be truly transformational in the reagan model, although reagan did stay out of that fight between dole and bush for his succession, you have to have three terms. you have to break serve. you have to get that third presidential win because that's what establishes the fact you've changed the direction of american politics. if this president wants to have three terms in a row won by his party, isn't he smart to go with hillary because you and i know and everybody knows people our age, women, are all going to vote for hillary. it's just going to be a smash, and half the men will vote for her at least. that's a 75% win. i know we've never seen anything like that, but i think it's possible. your thoughts. >> i have been surprised at how many people have come over to me, especially republicans, and said if hillary runs, i'm there,
please tell her i'm there. i think it's too early though. i honestly do not know whether she is -- whether she thinks the answer is yes. you know, i tell her, i said listen to what they're saying out there, and she will say something like that i know that's what they're saying. i think she needs to get to rest, she needs to get her mojo back. >> you didn't think she had all that yesterday? >> i don't think she's going to be bored. >> come on, marjorie, i thought she had all she needed at that hearing the other day. the appearance was great. her appearance was great. her performance was strong, confident, charging, and wistful at times and, of course, passionate at times. when she was challenged on her honor or integrity, you have to whip back. if you don't think that was ready, i don't know what you're looking for. forcing you to say what i want you to say. go ahead. >> yeah, right. well, i'm not going to say it. >> do you want her to run? >> oh, listen, i think that she would -- by the way, i adore joe biden. i love joe biden.
i think hillary would make a fabulous president. honestly, you know, colin powell said in one of his very first attempts to negotiate with the russians, he was sitting across the table saying, i don't like these people. i have been brought up to hate them, but hillary -- what hillary does so well is she brings humanity. i have been working with her a lot on women's issues around the world, and her understanding of the need to get women to the table and to protect children is so extraordinary. by the way, i think kerry will do a good job with it, but nobody is going to come up to the ankles of hillary with regard to how much she cares about women and children around the world. >> i think kerry is going to be a hell of a secretary of state. i think he was bred for it. he grew up with it. governor rendell, it's always curious to watch you. i love this conversation. you know i get a kick out of this conversation anytime you're on because i know you. you're as in bed with the
clintons as marjorie is. anyway, thank you both, marjorie. technically. up next, the big rig. republicans in key battleground states are trying to change the rules of the electoral college and rig the system so they can win without getting the most votes. of course, to republicans that's not the problem. the system is the problem. they'd rather just win the thing any way they can, and that's ahead. this is "hardball," the place for politics. >> you know, i'm not sitting here some little woman standing by my man like tammy wynette. i'm sitting here because i love him and i respect him and i honor what he's been through and what we've been through together, and if that's not enough for people, then, heck, don't vote for him. ouncer ] going to sleep may be easy, but when you wake up in the middle of the night it can be frustrating. it's hard to turn off and go back to sleep. intermezzo is the first and only prescription sleep aid approved for use as needed in the middle of the night when you can't get back to sleep. it's an effective sleep medicine you don't take before bedtime.
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so if you suffer from middle-of-the-night insomnia, ask your doctor about intermezzo and return to sleep again. ♪ vice president joe biden held a round table discussion on gun safety today in richmond. biden was joined by homeland security secretary janet napolitano, hhs secretary kathleen sebelius and senator tim kaine of virginia, and experts who worked on gun safety after the horrific shootings at virginia tech in '07. gun safety supporters are about to get a compelling new leader, gabrielle giffords. giffords and her husband, mark kelly, are vowing to do whatever it takes for new gun safety measures, and we'll be right back.
we're back. we've been reporting this week on efforts by republicans in some states to change the way votes are counted in order to give republicans a major advantage in future presidential elections. it's an effort that has picked up the most steam so far in virginia. the legislation was introduced there that would allocate their votes based on congressional districts rather than winner-take-all. the goal seems obvious, to dilute the urban vote, the ethnic vote or the black vote or whatever you call it. last night i called it a mickey mouse gimmick to win elections without having to actually win the most number of votes. thankfully, not all republicans have joined the mickey mouse club on this one, and there are indications today, good news for everybody, that the virginia bill might be heading toward defeat. state senator ralph smith, a republican, said this morning he thought the plan was a bad idea,
and virginia governor bob mcdonnell also said today he was opposed to it. also today former mississippi governor haley barbour told andrea mitchell he was skeptical of the plan. let's listen. >> i like it the way it is, but as i say, i'm more of a traditionalist conservative, and if people want to do that, it's obvious states have the right to do that. >> republican legislatures in michigan, in pennsylvania, in ohio are proceeding with it. i'm just asking is this the right move for the party nationally? >> as i said, i would not be for it. >> well, more republicans come to their senses. steve kornacki is the host of "the cycle" every afternoon, and hilary shelton, the vice president for policy and advocacy at the naacp. mr. shelton, thank you for this. when you first heard about this, what did it smell like to you? what was your sense of why
people would be doing this kind of thing, breaking up the states in the electoral college, having them vote so the rural areas would have more clout. what did smell when you saw? >> to try to undercut the process, to try to win elections regardless of the process. in a time when we should be moving as a nation to make sure more democratic in the process, that more americans can participate, to make sure that the outcome of our elections are consistent with the popular decisions made by those going to the polls, we had this move to undercut all of that. it's a big problem. and it really stinks in so many ways. >> that's what i think. just talking about the state i grew up in pennsylvania where you have a large minority population in philadelphia. it's not all black, it's half and half. but the fact is that's where the democratic party's base. and you have an 85% turnout for the democratic party for president obama. basically, all those votes would be treated just like any other cd. in other words, they won this city -- your -- the democrats
won the city by 500,000 in philadelphia, a plurality. that would all be ignored by this new system. you know what is going on here. they're saying ignore the numbers county by county basically counting this thing. >> absolutely. and then when you take a good look at it, what ends up happening is we have to find out some way to rectify how it is americans came out and supposed to be one of the most effective democracies on the face of the earth and voted, but somehow the popular vote didn't match up with the electoral college vote. but the person was elected into the presidency anyway. that doesn't sound like democracy to me. it also sounds like some of our friends throughout the world would hold us accountable for it. >> well, we got bush that way. we got through eight years of bush, at least the first four. steve, what do you think? it does seem like there is some hesitancy here, even though they can technically say this is fair, it smells. it looks like an attempt to kill the minority vote in the big cities. that's what it looks like. >> that's what it looks like. it's more than that. first of all, no, i don't think
it's going to happen. i don't ultimately think it's going to happen in the other states. what it speaks to is it's not just trying to sort of isolate the minority vote. it speaks to how the emerging democratic coalition. that's african-american, hispanic, also single women, that's young professional, that coalition more than ever is tightly bunched in metropolitan areas, cities and directly around cities there is a statistic that is floating around, i think dave wasserman from the cook report came up with this. if you look back at 1998 when michael dukakis got slaughtered by george bush sr., michael dukakis carried over 800 counties. that's how tightly packed in today's democratic coalition is. it's enough to win the popular vote by five million votes nationally, but it's not spread out. you get state after state, blue state after blue state, if you went to this congressional based system, romney would have won the election last november.
>> i think these are patterns we've seen a long time ago. when people say this is an effort to steal the election, an attempt by the republicans here, is what they mean. if the electoral votes were divided by congressional district, we'd be reporting on mitt romney's first week in the white house tonight. here is a map from the 2012 presidential race of states, obama versus romney won. if the republican plan was put in place nationally this past year, you would have to replace that map with this one. all those districts in red are all electoral points for mitt romney. what does this mean? it means even though barack obama won by nearly five million votes and carried the electoral college by 332 to 206, if the republican plan was in place, he would have lost to romney 262 to 276. what do you think would happen? let me ask you. how active is the naacp, mr. shelton, in fighting this? are you in the courts in this? are you out in the legislatures? how hot are you getting on this thing?
>> primarily in the legislatures right now. our state conferences and virginia and other places have introduced these measures and are very actively engaged. we've seen what happens when you redistrict, when you reapportion after the census. we know the games that are played in what is probably the most highly partisan process that we have in our political system. now take that and use that to determine how indeed we're actually going to elect our president. what we have in that case is yet another undercut of the integrity of our system that is so important. >> and that right there just ramifies the whole thing there is enough crap going on at the state level without making ate national problem. thank you, mr. kornacki and well said, mr. shelton. when we return, this new collection of memorabilia from the life of jack kennedy. i know all about this stuff. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics. you can prevent gas with beano meltaways,